It's a tube made in Russia just like Sovtek and Electro Harmonics. In this case, it's branded Tung Sol. I believe the Chinese might be trying to make a copy of this tube. I don't see the price dropping very much for this tube, I'm just guessing. It uses heavier glass and is a more robust version on the 6550. It is NOT a drop in replacement for the 6550.
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Hey Gary (Hifigeek1) -- the new egg-tube is very handsome indeed. I think it's called the KT-150. I wonder if this tube is a drop in where the KT-120 works, in particular the current ARC line-up? I'll probably be in contact with Kal this week in regard to my Ref 5 SE upgrade. I'll ask if ARC is looking into the KT-150.
I also think it's strange the Chinese haven't come up with a KT120 type, since the design is a gigantic (really...amazing) home run in tubeland, and has been around for a few years. I also would have expected some "gold pin extra cool with fancy writing on it" version to satisfy the hoards of people who need more expensive things. I did "drop in" a set of 120s in an otherwise 6550/KT88 Jolida (after being told by Jolida it wouldn't destroy the amp). They sound great and I've found nothing to make 'em drop out.
The reason the Chinese haven't copied the Russians might have something to do with their raw materials and their technology. They are behind the Russians on both. After the issues with the first 6550's out of China many years ago, I am wary of them and therefore stay away from them. That being said, the only Chinese tubes I found to be exceptionally good were the EL-34 Treasures. That's about it.
Marc, ... short answer is no. Reason is ... I forgot. Haven't heard or read anything else about the KT-150 to date. I certainly would NOT drop this monster into my amp without an OK from ARC. As I am sure you know, ARC agonized about the KT-120 for some time before using it as a drop in on many of their older models. I gotta believe the same would be the case with the KT-150. I bet Gary-Hifigeek has more information about the KT-150 than most since he is an authorized ARC repair tech.
Btw, how are you luv'ing the Ref 150? Thinking about picking up a pre-owned unit if the price is right. I know there is a unit on the market now. The owner is asking more than I care to spend, especially since I am enjoying my VS-115.
FBO others: Just did a little tweak the other day. I decided to plug my Ref 5 SE and VS-115 directly into the wall sockets. I previously ran all of my gear through a surge protector that supposedly offered lightening protection too. Wow -- a no cost tweak that yielded a very noticeable improvement. I wonder what improvement I will hear when I run a couple of dedicated lines for my rig?? BUT ... I gotta remember to pull the equipment out of the wall if thunder storm.
There isn't much info about the Tung Sol KT-150 if any at all. I tried contacting to New Sensor directly about the Tung Sol KT-150 and they were mum about it.I never even got a response from them either.
The reason the Chinese haven't copied the Russians might have something to do with their raw materials and their technology. They are behind the Russians on both.Just saw this. A little more in price than the Tung Sol